July 7th, 2014


Chiquidrácula to referee Brazil vs. Germany.

Yep, it's this guy.

The referee who failed to see Luis Suárez bite an opponent has been picked to officiate Brazil’s World Cup semi-final against Germany.

Fifa says on its website that Marco Rodríguez of Mexico will referee the match in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.

Rodríguez has handled two World Cup matches – Uruguay’s 1-0 win against Italy on 24 June and Belgium’s 2-1 defeat of Algeria. It is his third World Cup finals and the first time he has refereed a game in the knock-out stages.

Suárez’s bite of the Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder went unseen and unpunished by the Mexican match officials. Fifa later banned Suárez for nine international matches and four months from all football activity. He has appealed.

Earlier in the game Rodríguez showed the Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio a red card for a serious foul.

Fifa said Mark Geiger of the US will be fourth official for the match. He was also fourth official for Uruguay against Italy.

Source: The Guardian

World Cup 2014: The top 10 (5) goalkeepers in Brazil

1. Manuel Neuer Germany

Cristiano Ronaldo got an early clue that this was not going to be his tournament when Neuer produced a superb save from a stoppage-time free-kick to prevent Portugal from salvaging even a sliver of consolation from their crushing defeat by Germany. But it is not his shot-stopping that has distinguished Neuer, it is the way he has practically redefined the role of goalkeeper, taking the sweeper-keeper function to an extreme never before showcased with such success.

His charges out of his box prevented Algeria, in particular, from revelling in the space behind Germany’s high defensive line, compensating for Per Mertesacker’s lack of pace. In addition to the obvious effectiveness, the sight of the hulking keeper hurtling towards confrontation must have a potent mindgame value – Asamoah Gyan, for instance, fled ridiculously wide when presented with the chance to take on Neuer one-on-one. What is more, Neuer’s superb distribution makes him the first line of attack.

2. Guillermo Ochoa Mexico

Way to ace a job interview. Ochoa, a free agent after three outstanding seasons at Ajaccio, was unlikely to be short of offers before the tournament but his displays for Mexico may have endeared him to a new calibre of recruiter. The 28-year-old’s agility, reflexes and robust wrists enabled him to make an array of improbable saves. Brazil players wondered whether there had been divine intervention when he helped Mexico to draw against them, while it took some devilry from Arjen Robben to beat Ochoa in the end.

3. Keylor Navas Costa Rica

The 27-year-old came into the tournament after a wonderful season in which he set a clean-sheet record for Levante but it has still been a major surprise to see Costa Rica advance to the quarter-finals while conceding only two goals in five matches – Uruguay, Italy, England, Greece and Holland. Behind a solid unit, Navas was a secure presence. As the pressure increased, his performances rose accordingly, with his exhibitions of shot-stopping against Greece and Holland among the highlights of the tournament.

4. Vincent Enyeama Nigeria

Another goalkeeper who arrived after a record-breaking season at club level. Enyeama carried on the form that made him nigh-on unbeatable for Lille, pulling off a series of extraordinary saves, starting in the first match against Iran, when Nigeria dominated but would have lost if the goalkeeper had not kept enough concentration to tip away a header from Reza Ghoochannejhad. He then kept Bosnia-Herzegovina at bay before thwarting Lionel Messi and Argentina for long periods despite conceding three. When a goalkeeper falls below perfection, however, he can be punished severely and Enyeama’s mishandling of a cross against France enabled Paul Pogba to score the winning goal and ruined another otherwise immaculate performance.

5. Tim Howard USA

Even though he made a tournament-record number of saves against Belgium, the American’s shot-stopping was not the most admirable aspect of his performances in Brazil – and not only because most of Belgium’s efforts were straight at the goalkeeper, their forwards’ odd lack of composure seemingly making them unable to spot Howard’s tendency to go low prematurely, a habit that Nani had exploited earlier. That quibble aside, Howard’s influence seemed immense as his leadership helped coax valiant resistance from defenders who might otherwise have been torn apart. He inspired his team-mates with words and deeds.

Rest at the source.

The list is great for the most part, although I would kick out Tim Krul and put in Claudio Bravo. I'll post some more articles as part of the countdown to tomorrow's match.

Also, who are your favorite goalkeepers this tournament? Feel free to spam below!